fter days of President Obama's re-election campaign questioning whether Mitt Romney would have ordered the daring Navy SEAL raid inside Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden a year ago, Romney finally gave his answer: "Of course," he told a reporter in New Hampshire. "Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order." Of course, Obama's allies aren't exactly persuaded, pointing to statements from 2007-08 in which Romney disagreed with Obama's pledge to strike high-value terrorist targets inside Pakistan, saying it's "not worth moving heaven and earth" to capture bin Laden. If Romney were in charge last year, would he have taken out bin Laden?
Any president would have sent in the SEALs: We know for a fact that Jimmy Carter did order a similar raid, sending Marines to rescue hostages in Iran, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. And Carter, Romney, or any other president would have made the same call Obama did with bin Laden. In counterterrorism, "it's easier for a president to err on the side of aggression than passivity." If Obama had punted and the press found out, he would have been toast. And as for Romney's past statements: In 2007, Pakistan was an ally; in 2011, not so much.
"Romney: C'mon, even Jimmy Carter would have given the order..."
But maybe not President Romney: Mitt is wrong to suggest that ordering the raid was "a no-brainer," says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. Obama had to push hard for a renewed focus on finding bin Laden, and overrode top advisers' objections to sending in SEALs. Romney, on the other hand, has a history of opposing "both the policy of aggressively focusing on bin Laden and violating Pakistani sovereignty. It's hard to get around that."
"The British are coming"
Regardless, Republicans won't win this on the politics: Many people believe it's unseemly to play politics with the bin Laden raid, says Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice. But Romney's new line — that somehow the raid was no big deal, and an easy call — "is coming across as sour grapes." Besides, whatever Romney would have done, trying to turn the tables on Obama has one "net result": Romney is playing on Obama's turf, with everyone talking about how "Obama issued the order to get Osama bin Laden," and wondering if Romney might have balked.
"Romney says 'even Jimmy Carter' would have ordered Bin Laden op..."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- 10 things you need to know today: April 16, 2014
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Can these 4 couples really afford their dream houses?
- There's a number of reasons the grammar of this headline could infuriate you
- How to be more satisfied with your life, according to science
- The contentious policy at the heart of Cliven Bundy's armed standoff with the government
Subscribe to the Week